Last week country singer Morgan Wallen was caught using the n-word after drinking with friends. TMZ received video footage of the incident which they posted online alongside an article they wrote about the event which included a statement from Wallen himself.
Wallen promised TMZ he would “do better,” but is the damage already done? Shouting obscenities while drunk is a pretty common way to act while having a good time with friends. However, hate speech cannot be normalized. It is up to black society and black individuals whether they choose to use the n-word or not, but persons who are not black should discontinue its use entirely because of its connection with deep-rooted racism.
There are so many words in the English language that it is unnecessary to use the n-word. If Wallen wishes to use profanity, he should stick to one of the many other words he called out to his buddies. The n-word goes beyond locker room talk or a night out with the boys; it is hate speech.
To be white and freely use the n-word is the same as being German and spewing the Nazi salute. There is simply no good context for it. Wallen’s now former record label, Big Loud, recognized the severity of the situation when they chose to drop him from the label.
Despite the dose of accountability Wallen was served with by Big Loud, fans have taken to social media Twitter and TikTok to defend Wallen. Wallen recently released his debut album, Dangerous, causing some fans to overlook his racist speech.
Wallen has nobody to blame except for himself, and those defending him are only revealing that they are okay with racism in certain instances. Fame should never be used as a free pass to do things widely known to be wrong. There is no way, especially living in the south where slavery was most prominent, that Wallen could have been ignorant of the weight of his diction. As a lyricist, Wallen should be well aware of the power of language.
A few months ago, Wallen was also seen via TikTok in a bar not wearing a mask and making out with multiple different women. According to TMZ, Wallen said he planned to “work on himself.” It is quite possible he does not care much for anyone except himself. I think it is likely that Wallen would have continued to use the n-word had he not been caught.
Since the incident, Wallen has apologized for his conduct and his sales have risen. Wallen’s apology is indicative that he knows his actions are unacceptable, however we should be cautious in how easily we forgive racism. While people can change and become more educated, I am skeptical of Wallen.